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Siblings: When one child gets more attention

Lisa van de Geyn has noticed that her eldest daughter gets more of her attention than her younger one.

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Peyton and Addyson on their first day of school. Photo: Lisa van de Geyn

Follow along as Today’s Parent contributor Lisa van de Geyn weighs in on parenting issues and life with her two young daughters. Stay tuned for occasional posts from her husband Peter as he shares parenting stories from his point on view.

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned.

It’s been awhile since my last confession. (Hey, give me a bit of credit here — Jews don’t really *do* the whole confession thing like this, so this is new to me.)

Anyway, like I said, it’s been awhile since my last confession. I’ve sinned in countless ways, like not updating my blog (probably the writing I enjoy most); not doing my homework for the class I’m taking (more on that another time); gorging on baked treats my little sister keeps making with my kids, then sends home with them (stop it, Kylee!); regularly helping out in Addy’s kindergarten class but begging Mrs. E to give me administrative tasks so I don’t have to interact with all the kids; not buying Halloween candy yet; spending too much time (and hard-earned dollars) on online retail therapy; forgetting about my relaxing getaway to Arizona (a.k.a. crashing Peter’s business trip) five minutes upon returning; and generally feeling guilty about everything there is (or isn’t) to feel guilty about.

Example: not writing a special birthday post for Peyton like I did for Addyson. This has weighed heavily on me, and the longer I’ve forgotten to do it, the more pathetic I feel.

So, instead of showering my special, hilarious, gorgeous, devilish, borderline kooky, awesome, smart, sarcastic (really sarcastic), know-it-all, motherly, silly, adorable Peyps with all kinds of loving, mushy, barfy words, I’m going to say this instead: I feel like Peyps is getting the shaft.

As a firstborn, I know not what I speak in regards to the often second-rate treatment second children get from their busy, tired parents. For a long time, I was always the chosen one — I’m the one who Mom took with her when she went grocery shopping; I’m the one Mom let stay up at night to watch TV with; I’m the one Dad took to the SkyDome when he got Toronto Blue Jays tickets; I’m the one who had my own room, got my own pet, got all the new clothes and never wore hand-me-downs. Puh-lease. (And Peter wonders why I have good taste and I’m sometimes high-maintenance? Ha!)

Anyway, Addy and Peyton are pretty much equal when it comes to grandparental doting, etc., but I’ll be blunt (and maybe berated for saying this): I could do a better job carving out special time and things for me and Peyps to do together that don’t involve Addy. I could definitely remember that I need to put equal time into both. If I’m being brutally honest, part of me kind of thinks that if I do alright with Addy, Peyps will absorb it all. And what she doesn’t, Addy will do with her/handle. Ha. It’s a nice idea in some ways (think of the reading I’d catch up on!), but it’s my responsibility as the queen of this kingdom and the smartest Mommy in all the land (according to Addy) to make sure Peyps is feeling the love from me as much as Addy does.

So, Peyps, I’m sorry for not posting a birthday blog for you. Instead, I’ll take you to the bagel store for your favourite blueberry bagel (it’s on me) when Addy’s at school one morning. And I’ll let you look in her secret drawer, and we won’t tell her.

Parents of more than one kiddo: Do you ever feel your oldest gets more of you than your younger tots?